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Text that has been eroded looks similar to text that has been distressed, but we use a different process to achieve each effect.
Creating the Text
Start with new canvas set to the default size (640 x 400).
- With the toolbox selected, press D to reset the default foreground and background colors. Add an alpha channel to the background layer (Layer->Transparency->Add Alpha Channel).
- Choose the Text tool from the toolbox and then select an appropriate font. As in the last tutorial, I use SoutaneBlack Thin here. The font size is set to 160 pixels, and the font color is set to black.
- Click the canvas and type Erosion. Use the Align tool to center the text layer in the canvas, and then expand the boundaries of the canvas to match the image size (Layer->Layer to Image Size).
You’ll get the best result if you use a thick font.
Distressing the Text
- Add a white layer mask (Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask) to the text layer and then click the layer mask in the Layers dialog to make it active.
- Open the Solid Noise filter (Filters->Render->Clouds->Solid Noise). Set the Random Seed to 0, check the box next to the word Turbulent, and set the X Size and Y Size sliders to 16. This will create a smooth, blob-filled cloud in the mask. Click OK to apply these settings to the mask.
- Open the Curves dialog (Colors->Curves) and adjust the curve as shown here to sharpen the edges of the blobs. Click OK to apply these changes to the layer mask.
The Solid Noise filter provides a good mask, but making adjustments in the Curves dialog sharpens the edges of the erosion effect.
- Open the Pick filter (Filters->Noise->Pick). Set the Random Seed to 10, set the Randomization slider to 70 percent, and set the Repeat slider to 1 time. This effect should be automatically applied to the layer mask when you click OK.
- Apply the layer mask to the layer by choosing Layer->Mask->Apply Layer Mask, which merges the mask with the layer content.
Using the Pick filter to add noise gives the text a more crumbled look.
- Create a selection of the merged layer (Layer->Transparency-> Alpha to Selection) and save this selection to a channel (Select->Save to Channel). Double-click the channel name and change the name to Outline. Doing this will make the new channel active, so return to the Layers dialog and click the Erosion layer to make it the active layer once again.
- Merge the text layer with the Background layer (Layer->Merge Down).
- Deselect all (Select->None).
Save the outline of the text to a channel before merging it with the Background layer.
Embossing the Text
- Use the Emboss filter to add depth to the text (Filters->Distorts->Emboss). Choose the Emboss option, and then set the Azimuth to 0 degrees, set the Elevation to 40 degrees, and set the Depth to 47.
- Retrieve the selection you saved earlier by returning to the Channels dialog (Windows->Dockable Dialogs->Channels), clicking the saved channel to make it active, and then clicking the Channel to Selection button. This gives us a selection of the text.
- Grow the selection by 1 pixel (Select->Grow) and invert the selection (Select->Invert).
- Return to the Layers dialog and click the background layer again to make that layer active.
Use the Emboss filter rather than the Bump Map filter to avoid soft edges. The Emboss filter extrudes this text without requiring that we apply a blur as in previous tutorials.
- Press ctrl-X to cut the selection from this layer, leaving just the text over a transparent background. The selection should remain after removing the background. Invert it again.
- Next we’re going to add an edge to the text by creating a white layer, offsetting it, and then positioning it below the text layer. Let’s start by creating a new transparent layer (Layer->New Layer) and filling the selection with white. Then deselect all (shift-ctrl-A).
- Open the Gaussian Blur filter (Filters->Blur->Gaussian Blur). Set the Blur Radius to 0.6 pixels and then click OK to apply this blur to the new layer.
- Use the Layer->Stack->Lower Layer button in the Layers dialog to move this layer below the original text layer.
- Offset the white layer by 1 pixel both horizontally and vertically (Layer->Transform->Offset).
An offset white edge simulates lighting.
- Retrieve the saved channel again, and then click the original background layer in the Layers dialog to make that layer active.
- Select the Mud pattern from the Patterns dialog. Drag that pattern into the selection.
The Dried Mud pattern is a perfect fill texture for this effect.
- Create a new layer (Layer->New Layer). Name this new layer Mud Color.
- Double-click the foreground color to open the Change Foreground Color dialog. Set the RGB values to 171/100/9 and then click OK. Drag the foreground color into the selection to fill it with that color.
- Set the layer mode for the Mud Color layer to Overlay.
- Deselect all (shift-ctrl-A).
Filling a layer with light brown and setting its layer mode to Overlay enhances the color in the Dried Mud pattern.
- Click the original background layer to make that layer active.
- Open the Levels dialog (Colors->Levels). Drag the middle slider a short distance to the left (as shown here) to brighten the text a bit and click OK.
- Create a new layer (Layer->New Layer). Name this layer New Background.
- With the toolbox selected, press D to reset the default foreground and background colors.
- To add the finishing touch, drag the foreground color (black) into the new layer to fill it with that color and then move this black layer to the bottom of the layer stack.
A black background provides some contrast and completes the effect.
Many variations on this technique are possible. You might try using one of the other noise filters, or you might try choosing the Emboss filter’s Bumpmap option (instead of the Emboss option). And while it may not seem to have played a big part in the overall effect, choosing the Dried Mud pattern to provide texture to the text was extremely important. What other patterns can you find in the Patterns dialog that change the feel of this effect just as dramatically?